St Lawrence Cement Inc, said yesterday radical design changes it has made to a US$350m plant destined for Greenport, NY, should speed a five-year-old permit process and let construction start soon. The new plant with annual capacity of 2Mt would replace an older inefficient facility nearby. New technology will enable it to be well within New York State environmental norms, including air quality, water use and stack height, said project manager David Loomes.
It will not be visible from 90% of the surrounding area, he added, and the changes will cost US$33-million. "We need 17 separate approvals from Federal, State and local bodies and now look forward to the permit process with confidence and hope to start production in 2006-7," he added.
New York State and California have the most stringent environmental rules in the US, industry sources said. New York’s approval holds the key and the other bodies normally follow suit.
St Lawrence, controlled by Holcim has 2.5Mt of capacity at Mississauga and Joliette, Que., and 1.25Mt in New York State. Both Canadian plants are running full out and export 20 per cent of their production to the US. St Lawrence has been trying to expand capacity in the Northeastern US since 1988, but earlier plans ran into strong local opposition or economic downturns.